Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chazon Ish: Negative information about rabbis

 [This was originally posted 4 years ago concerning the Tropper Affair]

amicusEJF (the defender of Eternal Jewish Family) questioned my public criticism of Rabbi Tropper's conduct in relationship to Rav Sternbuch, shlita and myself. The following quote of the Chazon Ish justifies my conduct. A person as influential as Rabbi Tropper has to adhere to a higher standard of conduct than others and is legitimately subject to revelations of his misconduct that are not appropriate of non-influential rabbis and roshei yeshiva. The quote of Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky zt"l shows that it is also relevant for influential rabbis who are deceased.

Chazon Ish(2:133):Knowledge about a talmid chachom who shapes yiddishkeit is similar to that of an artisan. Just as one is permitted to convey accurate information about an artisan if there is to'eles so it it permitted to reveal information about a gadol if there is to'eles. Of critical importance is to be totally accurate otherwise it is slander. This implies that expressing negative information about others is relevant for those who are considered influential authorities – in order to understand the degree to rely on them.

Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky (Emes L'Yaakov- Bereishis 37:18): I was asked by a student why the Torah tells the story about how Yosef was treated by his brothers – isn't it lashon harah? I answered firstly that the prohibition of lashon harah in fact only applies to the living but according to the Torah it is permitted to speak lashon harah about the dead except for an ancient cherem (Orech Chaim 606:3). And this cherem only applies to slander but not to facts even if they are not flattering.


  1. I asked my Posek in Israel, a Gadol Hador who was a talmid of the Chazon Ish BEFORE I began to write on this blog.

    The answer I received was that if I had FIRST hand knowledge (which I do) about things that I describe, it would be a mitzvah to stand up in a stadium and blast it out on a loudspeaker.

    It is not easy for me, with my upbringing to speak badly about Rabbis and about things that go on in the Jewish communities in which I have lived. I have spent many sleepless nights thinking about and writing about these things.

    But, I have also been told that it is a mitzvah and that I must publicize it so I will, to anyone who will listen.

  2. Well, it seems that Rabbi Tropper, speaking for the EJF, naturally what else, is now talking tough and fighting the RCA and the Rabbanut as reported in a 6 Adar II 5768 - March 13, 2008 "Dei'ah veDibur" report "Eternal Jewish Family Warns Against Backing Unqualified Dayanim." See below.

    So while he lashes out at his opponents on the left, he creates a smokescreen for his inexcusable total defenselessness to the serious criticism he has faced and has still yet to respond to from the BADATZ and Rav Moshe Shternbuch.

    Sure he can act "frummer than thou" and "strashe the vantzen" (literally: to make empty threats)of Rav Amar and still further embarrass the RCA and the MO rabbis (he has no problem with that) but he leaves himself open to embarrassment to those who know that he is playing hide-and-seek with the BADATZ and Rav Shternbuch as he rebels against their calls.

    This is outlined in the latest article in "Dei'ah veDibur" and it is surpsrising that the BADATZ views are not conveyed to that Haredi news outlet, see:


    "6 Adar II 5768 - March 13, 2008


    Eternal Jewish Family Warns Against Backing Unqualified Dayanim

    By Yechiel Sever

    Following an agreement signed by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) to set up a network of regional botei din in cooperation with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Eternal Jewish Family (EJF), headed by HaRav Leib Tropper which works extensively to uphold proper conversion practices around the world based on consultations with gedolei Yisroel, is warning against certain Chief Rabbinate officials who are offering support and recognition for modern rabbis who do not operate in accordance with halacha and is urging the Chief Rabbinate to announce publicly that it will not back these rabbis. According to reports in the foreign press the list of rabbis approved for these botei din includes individuals whose kehillas hold minyanim for women.

    Recently officials at the Chief Rabbinate have recognized a number of new rabbis outside of Israel, some of whom are upstanding dayanim. But there are also a number of modern rabbinical organizations whose dayanim do not operate in accordance with halacha and Jewish hashkofoh, and their actions are liable to create major breaches in Kerem Beis Yisroel.

    EJF has voiced its strong support for steps the Chief Rabbinate has taken to strengthen conversion abroad by cooperating with the organization, but at the same time EJF is warning not to submit to pressure of any kind, and to ensure that conversions are performed only by dayanim who have yiras Shomayim and are qualified to uphold the halacha passed down through the generations — especially in the area of conversion, a matter held dear by Torah-true Judaism.

    The organization also notes the importance of distinguishing between rabbonim, who may be very capable of heading a kehilloh, but they are not dayanim who have specialized training and experience — including shimush — needed to sit on the bench of an orderly, permanent beis din. Without this training and experience they should under no circumstances be authorized to serve as dayanim in conversion courts. Proper conversion courts require an av beis din widely recognized as an expert and two other dayanim worthy of the title.

    Recently, with the encouragement of EJF, 13 botei din have been set up around the US to hear cases related to all areas of Jewish law, including conversion. All these botei din include a well-known av beis din.

    EJF welcomes the RCA's initiative to transfer the authority to perform conversions from individual rabbonim to fixed, regional botei din, but at the same time calls on the organization to ensure that the sitting rabbonim are properly trained to serve as dayanim.

    In a related matter, EJF wishes to clarify that information regarding the agreement reached between the Chief Rabbinate and the RCA is being distorted in reports in the general press due to the efforts of several people who have ulterior motives.

    Chief Rabbi Amar has told Rav Tropper that the Chief Rabbinate has only approved seven regional RCA botei din and not 15 as has been widely reported in the press. Also Chief Rabbi Amar has said that rabbis whose kehillas have prayer groups for women will not be approved as dayanim.

    In a conference call among Rav Nochum Eisenstein, chairman of the Vaad HaRabbonim Haolami LeInyonei Giyur founded by HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth zt"l, Rabbi Peretz of the Chief Rabbi's Office, and a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, this message was clearly conveyed. Nonetheless, the Jerusalem Post refused to print a correct of the incorrect information in their previous articles, saying that it was not "interesting" to their readers."

  3. R' Gil Student wrote the following on his blog Hirhurim in the comments to the following posting

    I've confirmed that the Yated/Deiah VeDibur article is FALSE. The Jerusalem Post called the Chief Rabbinate to verify the EJF's claims and were told that they are incorrect. That is why the JPost did not publish any of this.

    As I think I've made clear on this blog, I'm no fan of women's prayer groups. But I can't imagine disqualifying a rabbi, essentially writing him out of Orthodoxy, because he holds that they are permissible for his shul.
    Gil | Homepage | 03.14.08 - 6:04 pm | #

  4. In response to Daas Torah's post quoting Rabbi Gil Student that "I've confirmed that the Yated/Deiah VeDibur article is FALSE. The Jerusalem Post called the Chief Rabbinate to verify the EJF's claims and were told that they are incorrect. That is why the JPost did not publish any of this."

    All it proves yet again is how pathologically manipulative Rabbi Tropper really is and that he will stop at nothing to move his and Tom Kaplan's EJF "project" along and in their view Rabbi Amar, Rav Eisenstein, the Rabbanut and certainly the RCA are just pawns to be moved around on a "game board" as one imagines billionare investors do when they move around little pieces of their empire to further its expansion.

    Thus, from EJF there are open PR assaults, behind the scenes or more open threats, and as we see manipulation of other rabbinical institutions and the spread of misinformation in the media...all for what exactly?...to help gentiles become Jews because they are married to one with no limits in sight.

    While Rabbi Tropper passes himself off to the Israeli rabbis as a "guardian of geirus" in America, he is doing no different than the very RCA batei din and MO rabbis he so besmirches because there is no gaurantee or proven record that anyone converted under EJF auspices turns out to be a better quality longer lasting mass-produced rubber-stamped ger than anyone else's.

    It's all pretty murky personal and dangeours Halachically stuff, and that is why the BADATZ call to action and its letters of warnings to rabbis involved with the EJF is a refreshing call to clarity and sanity, even though it will not be easy for prospective geirimand their rabbis to live up to its standards, but where does it say that geirim must have an easy time becoming Jewish.

    The BADATZ has no influence over the MO RCA rabbinate, but it can have a tugging effect for the better on Israel's Rabbanut and it should certainly make Rabbi Tropper, as he is a hard-line Haredi rabbi himself, sit up and take notice that he is barking up the wrong trees in the geirus department and that he has gotten himself into something way over his head. He, of all people, as the claimed and known "kanoi" that he is, should be saluting and promoting the views of the BADATZ and not treating it with the unfortunate disdain that he does.

    There can always be a better tomorrow, especially if it's Purim on the "horizon".

  5. Rabbi Eidenson,

    Thank you for that mareh makom from R' Yaakov abt LH regarding Ishei Tanach. Are you aware of any other opinions on this matter [concurring or dissenting?]
    Thank you in advance!

  6. Why are the comments all listed as being 4 years old?

    1. If you read the top line in the post - you will notice that it was orignally posted in 2008

  7. The "gedolim" covered up for Tropper, luckily a brave soul provided few Jewish bloggers with a recording and the rest is history.

    Klall Yisroel owes a lot to this person for putting Tropper out of circulation halachatic and sexually.

  8. You can say that again! After Tropper, there ought to have been some kind of post-mortem asifa to examine how it is that such an individual cornered so much power and so many 'Gedolim' despite the outcry of many and his own boorish behaviour over the years. It truly was/is a black eye!


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